self love # 7

another "in the dark" shot. this time it came out blue/purple...

reminds me of kali, which i like.

given the anger/rebirth theme of my life lately, also quite appropriate.


victim blaming, patriarchal pitfalls, hit dogs, and other foolishness (part 2)

they actually did post my comment, so here it is (forgive any clarity issues...i was pissed):

some of the comments here are frightening. is it fear of seeing your story in hers? if you haven't been in her shoes, you don't know WHAT you would do or WHO you would be. it's obvious that this woman knows no other life and has been severely abused--probably long before the age of 16.

more women than you know have been raped, abused, and molested. please believe it. even if this letter isn't true, this is the voice of thousands.

she needs professional therapy for her AND her daughters, and a ticket to the other side of the country (wherever she's from), away from this "uncle", whoever he is.

i mean no disrespect, but if jesus/the bible keeps y'all from seeing the obvious in this woman's story, then i hope she runs from THAT understanding of god as far & fast as she runs from the "uncle". peace.

i should also note that some more measured responses made their way to the fore later in the day, some blasting earlier comments better than i could.

unfortunately--on fire as i was--i ran out of time and, later, out of steam. so instead of a long, drawn out rant, i'll just do some quick notes:

sample 1

yes, she's sick. because her uncle--whoever the hell he is--has been pimping her out for over half her life. note that it would be a miracle if this woman has a formal education beyond high school.

i don't even have time to deal with the fool who suggested making the "uncle" pay for college.

and how the hell are you going to make blanket judgments about what's "useless" to discuss? this is one of the things i can't stand about the "holier than thou" crew: all that "we're in good w/ jesus!" stuff makes "us vs. them" far too easy--part of the reason christianity was taught to the masses the way it was. how are we supposed to work together for the good of all if we're all too caught up playing scripture jeopardy and rushing to die and collect our "reward"?

sample 2
i saw a lot of "why didn't she just tell someone..."

because rapists threaten to kill you if you tell. it takes years to tell. i understand that it can be difficult for some folks to comprehend the lengths abusers will go to to isolate the target of their abuse.

maybe she was adopted and/or raised in the foster system herself, making her vulnerable to this sort of manipulation. this "uncle" may not have been a biological relative, and we have no idea how much sway he holds over this woman and her family, or how long he's had this power. jumping to jacked up conclusions like she has "no one to blame but herself" are silly at best and dangerous at worst.

sample 3
if you just up and quit your job, would you have a legal, legitimate means to support yourself, or are you leaning on the everlasting arms of the man, pushing paper like most of the rest of us?

if you could support yourself, you're fortunate.
if not, you have no right to judge her.

self pitying? really? no thought to what she and her children need to heal, just "man up."

pardon, your self righteousness is showing...

sample 4
again, this is her job. like it or not. it's reality.

i was grateful for a later comment stating that when someone comes from this sort of lifestyle, many churches can feel more like inquisitions than sanctuaries. they also are not always set up to help people facing real life shit.

initially, she's probably far better off finding the nearest battered women's shelter, rape support group, or community therapy clinic than walking in anybody's church. they'll take care of her spiritually after/while tending to the basics (food, shelter, clothing).

she doesn't need to testify or to be forced through a litany of her "sins"; she needs a way out. now.

sample 5
god/dess helps those who help themselves. there needs to be an understanding of the psychological and physical ramifications of this, first and foremost. this kind of response, on its own, comes off as naive, immature, and out of touch.

all this just goes to show how much work really needs to be done around sexism, patriarchy and other oppressive paradigms, power dynamics and the psychology of abuse.

victim blaming, patriarchal pitfalls, hit dogs, and other foolishness (part 1)

for those of you not familiar with steve harvey, he has a syndicated radio show. every day during the show, there's a segment called strawberry letter 23.

sometimes the letters are humorous, sometimes serious.

today, there was a really serious letter:

Date: 02/26/2009
Subject: distressed prostitute

Dear steve i am a 40 year old prostitute. i have a 16 year old and an 18 year old. they are both girls. they said that they want to follow in my footsteps but i told them no. the bad thing is that i'm a prostitute because their uncle started pimping me out at 16. and he is my girls father. and i have 4 other children by him that they dont know about. so what do you think that i should do?

understandably, this could be a fake--like any of them could. but the fact remains that this is not a completely unreasonable situation.

i had no issue with steve and shirley's response on air, but i decided that when i got to a computer, i'd check the listener comments to see what people were saying, thinking that folks would offer some interesting support and advice.

i was sadly disappointed.

most of the comments fell within the range of the following comments (identifying info removed, but otherwise unedited):

sample 1

I am aware their uncle could come from their father's side also. However, you stated at 16 he started pimping you out so this has to be your brother except the four other babies they do not know about.....wait you have me confused. They are all by the same man all six of them. So your brother is your pimp, brother, sexual partner, father of your children, children uncle. This can not be real. There is no need to discuss morality, ambition, profession, education, guidance, role model with you. You are just sick, you should have giving those girl up for adoption. The only thing I thought was strange initially was at 40 your eldest was 18 a bit old for a hooker. Then I read about the four others. Wonder where they are, and who raised them?

sample 2

I just want to know where was her parents the whole time this was going on between she and her brother. And although her daughters want to follow in her footsteps, she has no one else to blame except herself, because she is the role model for her children. So if she wanted a better life for them she should have thought about standing up for herself a longtime ago apparently she liked what she was doing too.

sample 3

Good morning Family. First off let me say that this letter is SOO wrong in SOO many ways. I hope and pray that this isn't true. At what point did it kick in that what was happening to you was wrong? Did you say something to another family member, or better yet, where was your MOTHER? I can't believe that you had SIX children and not once did anyone say anything about the father. Was there no one you could have went to and said I need to tell about what's been going on with me. You are now 40 years old and now your daughters are now looking at you like this is what they want to do. If this letter is true, it's time for you to 'man' up, be a woman about yours, stop with the self pitying, kick you old azz 'Uncle' to the curb and see about getting your life back together for the sake of your kids. And you said you have four other children that the other two don't know about? Where are they?? You know what...this foolishness has my pressure up and I'm going to be late for work. I'm going to pray for you. Family, you all have a good day.

sample 4

I am going to try to answer this question as dignified as I possibly can. Ahem! GET OFF YOUR BACK (literally) and GET A DAMN JOB!!! Where is Child Protective Services when you need them? You have a child that gets a spanking from their parents and CPS is ready to take the children. Here we have a woman that is hooking in front of her children, and CPS isn't involved. Lord, what is the world coming too. WHAT CAN YOU DO?!?!?! Is that a real question?!?!?!? Let's think a moment. Gee, what about...STOP HOOKING!!! I am hoping that when you say Uncle, you mean a man that the children call Uncle and not really any blood relation. That's what I am hoping because if that isn't the case, there is only one word to describe it...NASTY!!!! You don't want your children hooking! Why not? You set the stage by doing it in front of them!!! You must have wanted them in this life. I hate it when women act as if they don't have a way out situations like these. Since you are acting like you are dumb as bricks, I will set up the plan. 1. GET OFF YOUR BACK 2. GET TESTED FOR STD'S 3. GET ON YOUR FEET AND GET A DAMN JOB 4. WHILE WORKING GO TO SCHOOL AND GET YOUR EDUCATION (with two kids, you are sure to get Grants in order to further your education). 5. JOIN A CHURCH IMMEDIATELY (there is a Thursday bible study somewhere need you, I am sure of it) 6. MOVE FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. With the lifestyle that you have led, you need at least be 500 miles away from your old stomping grounds 7. Never have any contact with the "Uncle" ever again.

sample 5

Good Morning, I honestly hope that this letter is not real, but if it is all I can do is pray for her and hope that she will decide to turn to GOD and pray on it and he will take care of it

i'm gonna leave you with that for a minute.

in part 2, i'll respond as clearly and calmly as i can while simultaneously ripping these people a new one.

pissivity (1)*


to: brainmass-clot-thingie (bmct)
from: o.
re: my honeybabysweetiecakes


i fucking hate you.

i don't know where you came from, but you're not only fucking with his life, you're fucking with mine.

i know we had a rocky start, but six years and a whole lot of tears later, we've finally learned how to love each other. hell, he's marriage material, and i ain't even into marriage all like that.

then your ass shows up.

before, i couldn't plan on shit because of him. now i can't plan on shit because of you.

now, i'll give you credit for helping him get his mind right. we all know that staring down death can be a major catalyst in getting one's shit together.

but come the fuck on.

he's got a daughter to raise. she loves him, too. and, to be honest, she needs him a hell of a lot more than i ever could.

it'd also be nice if we could start our own family. all this time i've never really been sure about babies. too many loves that didn't go anywhere, too many broken hearts and missed chances. now here i am, 30 and counting, looking at the one person i could truly see fathering my children and what happens? you come and fuck it all up.

AND you've got the nerve to be a damned liar. the fuck? first he only had a year. then three months. then six. then he wasn't going to make it to his birthday. not that i want him to go, but dicking folks around 'cause you wanna be non fatally fatal is some total and utter bullshit.

you are a piece of shit and i hate you.

...but you've taken up residence in someone i love deeply, and i can't stand the thought of losing him. so i have to tolerate the knowledge that your ass is sitting there, waiting for...i don't even know what.

you picked the wrong one, though. he's strong, and he's not giving up. he's got a lot of people from a lot of walks of life praying for him. you're not gonna take him out of here easily. he's a warrior. guess you didn't bet on that. bitchassed cowards never do.

still, i needed to let your ass know that it's time to pack your bags and get the fuck outta dodge. i don't like you, i'm tired of the pain you're causing, and i want you to disappear. forever.

...just so we're clear, that means bowing out with no backtalk. don't be leaving him all fucked up like the doctors are always saying you might. no paralysis, no memory loss, none of that. least you could do for all this damned trouble.

our lives don't deserve to be on hold because of you--or anything, for that matter.

go back where you came from, motherfucker.



*i didn't know this term had made it into the urban dictionary, but apparently it has. either way, this will be a series, as i have some anger to work out, and this is about as constructive as i can be about it.


homeland security usa?

eh. i don't know about this.

this show looks like one long racial profiling commercial.

happy mardi gras, cher

i love mardi gras. for some reason, this is the only widely celebrated day that actually feels like a holiday to me.

i think it's all the ritualizing around impending spring/rebirth that i enjoy. plus i'm always in the midst of my birth-time energy. the depression and heaviness of fall and winter finally start to crack and fall away--no matter how cold it happens to be.

originally, i was born on a palm sunday. i think my actual birthdate has fallen on or near it several times since. i always liked to hear my mother talk about how it was an unseasonably warm, very beautiful afternoon.

i was raised lutheran, so mom always made pancakes for dinner on "shrove tuesday", also tons of fun. what kid doesn't appreciate breakfast for dinner? still, having successfully resisted sunday school, i did not understand the full meaning behind it until much later.

so this is, in many ways, my season.

spring seems to struggle to get here. it's not like october with a colorful equinox or that typical late may/june overnight leap into full summer.

the month of march feels almost violently transitional. anything can happen with the weather, from beautiful pre-spring days to freezing rain and snow.

it really is like a microcosm of my birth and my life.

so, enjoy the party, and don't give up too much for lent, hear?



revelations seem to come by the hour.

i need to do some work around money. there's something off about how that energy is working in my life.

probably said this a million times, but i really do need to commit to finding a way to move my body.

i need to revision my space.

this may be an example to follow.

smudging, bathing, cleansing...all very necessary. i have to shake off the last bit of this old skin and protect the new one.

i have blinded myself to something i desperately need to see. i am opening, but the mental blocks i put up to protect need to fall away now, even though i fear what will happen when they do.

i need more rest than i usually do. more quiet. my tolerance for nonsense, time-wasting, and other unnecessary things is waning.

my desert cravings are returning.
i should probably research the symbolism of that.

this list will probably continue to grow...


buy/beg/borrow this book!!

birnbaum's dark mother: african origins and godmothers.

so much is sitting right before our eyes, just waiting for us to revisit, reclaim and rejuvenate it.



saw an interesting message on twitter yesterday from god the mother:

I believe that people are drawn to spaces in this world that reflect their inner landscapes. What does your personal utopia say about you?

i need sun, heat, and plenty of water.

something between a mediterranean and a desert climate would be nice: never below 60-70 degrees, but definitely hovering around 85-90 in the summer. little humidity, some coolness at night. i wouldn't mind rain now and then, but would prefer to avoid a whole rainy season.

my house would be large, but not imposing. i don't want something that looks like what most americans think of as a mansion. a colorful adobe or hacienda style building would be perfect.

wide open kitchen and living room spaces, a small loft for an office, and a lounging/entertaining room that could double as a guest bedroom. plenty of natural light and wood/glass/stone furniture and fixtures juxtaposed with soft pillows, throws and fabrics.

my bedroom would be a hidden nook somewhere, essentially unnoticeable from the rest of the house. the entrance could even be a sort of optical illusion: a door hidden behind a beaded curtain. it'd have its own full, private bath...probably decorated in blues and purples.

i suppose i couldn't live in the desert and near an ocean, so i'd rather have the ocean. if i could be 60-90 minutes or less from a large, clean, beautiful body of water, i'd be happy. storms and all.

the waters are home, shrine, playground, and spa for me. a daily swim would do wonders.

i want my golden summer skin all year long.

i want to never have to wear more than two layers at a time. tights/pantyhose would be obsolete (unless they just looked really nice with my outfit).

i want to see beautiful plants, trees and flowers within any given month.

i want to practice yoga in my garden.

that's my utopia.


blessed mother

i've had several dreams of isis-mary in the last few weeks. both times she appeared in her currently accepted, whitewashed aspect. the first was of mary wondering why we do not acknowledge her true nature. the second was of mary magdalene, who has fascinated me for years.

i've always been curious about mary. when i was a child, determined to read the bible on my own, i asked my mother why jesus called her "woman". about a year or two ago, i was hopelessly drawn to guadalupe. eventually i came to own one of her candles and a dollar store jewelry box bearing her image.

yesterday, i felt like i had to sit with her.

there's a cathedral near work that i hijack every now and then. aside from a beautiful pieta and a few virgins, they also have a statue of st. patrick, who is syncretized to another beloved spirit, papa damballah.

i've always loved catholic churches. i've come to see my infrequent visits to them as an homage to my ancestors, at least a handful of whom were members of the church. i've probably also mentioned my gratitude for the multitude of saints and intricate ritualizing that allowed my ancestors to hold on to their traditional deities, spells and cosmologies despite the repression and cruelty of disaporic scattering and slavery.

i never get to spend as much time as i think i should with her, but there's something going on with that statue--or at least with its energy. kneeling near her feels all at once peaceful and immeasurably powerful. there is a feeling of vast, attentive compassion; she truly listens to you. the candles lit at her feet echo the hopes and prayers of countless people.

i see her as i see yemonja and osun. in truth, they are all different facets of the same jewel. it just so happens that this one has a european face.

in the dreaming--also in a church--isis-mary spoke to me almost as if i were a sister or a kindred spirit. she was on her usual pedestal, trying to break free of her marble casing. she seemed to say, "i want to get down and be with you all!" i seemed to be the only one who could hear her. everyone else kept their heads down, devoutly reciting their pre-approved prayers.

it felt like a comment on the disconnect patriarchal/westernized religion has created between us and our own divinity: as soon as i looked at her instead of deferring to her, she spoke quite clearly.

it's nice to have her pray for you. it's even nicer to invite her in.

the dream of the magdalene was hazy, but i do remember walking and talking with her. she was open and cordial, with the bearing of a countess or old money socialite.

so, given all that, i acknowledged her invitation. i asked what she needed from me--or what i needed from her. asked for more dreams and clarity. thanked her for her obvious mercy and prayed for healing for a few people in need.

the first time i started to get up to leave, i felt stuck in place, as if someone had thrown a heavy coat over my shoulders. so i took a deep breath and stayed a few more moments, then explained that i had to go. the second rising was easier, but still reluctant.

we definitely know each other, she and i.

i wonder why she's come knocking this lifetime...

bella luna

i really, really, really do not like having to be at work all day during my first full day of bleeding.

not only does my energy fluctuate, but sometimes my cramps come back.

then there's the temperature paradox: i want to wear as little clothing as possible, but i run cold, so that's impossible. every layer feels like it weighs a ton.

i don't wear a lot of skirts, particularly in the winter. but all of a sudden i turn into a nun--i want the longest, flowy-est thing possible. i don't want anything constricting on my stomach and pants feel like prisons.

reason #205090 i need to find a way to make my own schedule...


one unique sista (apparently)

you know, every time i see something like this or a blog like this, i start to wonder: am i really that different?*

or maybe gender roles are just that fked up, arbitrary, and nonsensical.

or, alternately, maturity is the true rarity.

either way, the "usual" crap/handling doesn't work on me, and hasn't since i was a teenager.

i am unmarried and childless because i was raised to make very thoughtful choices around those matters--if i chose to take that route in life at all. neither is or was central to womanhood in my family.

i have never had a problem attracting or "keeping" men, and even though i identify as a womanist/feminist, i have nothing against mothering/childbirth, as i've written about here a few times.

in my experience, needing to be right is generally a male affliction.

sure, i can get hormonal, but i KNOW when i am and will tell you (my moods don't swing anything like they used to anyway).

i do not covet, enjoy, like or entertain drama. i watch it on tv.

black men--or men in general, for that matter--are not my enemy and i do not treat them as such.

i know my shit, i've worked on a lot of it, and i'm willing to keep working on it if/when necessary. i expect the same of my partners.

so i really don't know what to tell you. either there are a lot of children out there masquerading as grown folk, or y'all know some really interesting people.

*for the record, i rather enjoy very smart brothas. i am NOT a fan of tubman--whether he's serious or not. he's a defcon 1 level tkon associate, obviously


outrage of the moment

re: the new red bull ad

i googled and only came up with an indianz.com forum post.

it's interesting how the discussion mirrors ones i've seen on sites dealing with black issues: some folks saying it's definitely annoying/offensive, others wanting to deal with the larger issues. even so, because we live in such a media-driven society, it's important to recognize the intersections between how "they" make fun or light of you and how your other, more serious social issues are handled as a result. it's all connected.

i can't drink the nasty mess anyway (have issues with caffeine), but the first time i saw that joint, i had a "wtf?!??!?" moment. i may have even cringed.

racist? it's dancing on the line.

insensitive/stereotypical/asinine? definitely.


my mayan destiny...

i was over at raet's house, and she had a post about mayan calendar destinies or kin.

so i went over to check mine out, and it said:

Yellow Cosmic Sun
I Endure in order to Enlighten
Transcending Life
I seal the Matrix of Universal Fire
With the Cosmic tone of Presence
I am guided by the power of Flowering

i like the way it sounds...

you can get a full explanation by saying you want an "extended" decoding. i chose that option, but it was more than i bargained for and i wound up having to rush through it. maybe i'll go back when i have more time to reflect on it all.

skin shedding

aug. 1999

now that the dust has settled, i feel the need to flesh out this entry a little more.

i've reached a crossroads, and one of the most significant manifestations of that event has been a spiritual detour. once again, i've shed my skin, and despite the beauty of my old covering, there was no way i was going to fit back into it.

the locs, circa 2007

i sought out ifa searching for spiritual instruction/guidance and a better understanding of my destiny. i certainly found it--on several different levels. the work eventually became less daunting, and although i still had spells of personal inactivity, i always wound up being called back to it.

i know that i will return to the tradition in one form or another. it is, quite literally, in my blood. but at this point, i feel called to go deeper.

kabiyesile and yeye still walk with me, but the tarot also calls to me. i desire communion with the other goddesses that flood my consciousness.

my ancestors will continue to be my strength, and i'm sure they will lead me to new teachers when i am ready. but now is the time to commune with my deepest self--assess the growth of the last two years and determine how best to move forward.

me now

there is still releasing to do. i have not had the time or soft place for a good cry, although i know i need one.

i've smudged and cleared the spaces that have been left behind, but i have not yet rearranged things to my liking. that may take time.

still, i know i'm on the right path. i just pray that spirit continues to light my way.



bag lady

this one woke me up this morning...

there are far too many homeless people in this country, period. but the numbers in the nation's capital are simply ridiculous.

and many of them look like me.


just legalize it already.

finally, a sensible take on the michael phelps "scandal".

bottom line: everybody put in the position of hero ain't one.

furthermore, it is extraordinarily problematic to worship youth on the one hand, then be unforgiving when youth acts like itself.

legally speaking, yeah, he screwed up.

morally, though, what has he done besides show us he can swim?

he has not been entrusted with the lives of children, the financial future of hundreds, or the governance of a city, town or state.

so far, he's a kid who can swim. what are you broken hearted about?


random ramblings re: me

it's after 10am already. will probably be close to 11am by the time i publish this.

i've been up for about four hours. that's pretty blasphemous for a saturday morning, but, it seems i've been conditioned by my commute, sadly enough.

the stress caught up with me and i've been recovering. when exhausted, i typically respond in one of three ways: sinus attack, yeast infection, or uti. the third popped up this time, and of course the antibios have put me in a precarious position around the second. thankfully my sinuses have behaved. but, probiotics, cranberry juice and water are my friends and there's a pot of womb tea on the stove...

like the new paint job? it kinda reminds me of my peaches and cream barbie.

i was going to change the template altogether--i even started to put the project on wordpress--but i didn't want to lose my widgets and links and all that. plus wordpress doesn't really let you slap in outside templates and posting seemed a bit involved (i didn't have that kind of time...). so i started playing around with colors, and voila! new shit.

originally i wanted a scarlet background--lately i'm hooked on red. makes sense, given the root chakra issues--but that made my eyes angry.

today's objective is to get the house together. they're doing another round of those b.s. apartment inspections next week, and mine "might be chosen". ugh. reason #1,921,025 i'd really love to be able to buy a house.

the last time i got a tub refinishing out of it, but they also left my bathroom door off the hinges and my house smelled like a chemical plant for about three days. i had to do some hardcore smudging to deal with that. adupe o, osayin, for your gift of herbs!

now that i think about it, the neighbors probably thought i was having one hell of a party...

ok. time for breakfast and possibly a nap. seriously considering treating myself to a pedicure. at least my toes can be scarlet...

peace & love



it occurred to me to use this quote when i realized that i had been shut down right in that moment when i had that house of cards in my hands.

i had just made a conscious decision to return to the table when that wind came calling.

years of striving, searching, shut downs and revivals--culminating in a glorious moment, then a shout that rang in my ears for days.

there were no hard feelings, but the wheels started turning and never stopped.

so now i know what i've gotta do.

“more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”
~st. teresa of avila